As we approach year-end marketers are scrambling to get to the finish line to ensure they’ve achieved their objectives for this year.
The most significant question in everyone’s mind is what they should do differently in 2018 to drive higher revenue for their business and to continue to justify the marketing spend for the following year. Simply put, how can we get the biggest bang for our bucks?
As straightforward it may sound, there is no easy answer, even though we are armed with multiple data points and qualitative research to measure what worked and what didn’t and can use that information to make decisions. The market is changing at the speed of light – budgets are getting tighter, consumers are becoming more demanding, and the reality is it’s tough for marketers to make those decisions.
In fact, according to the latest Gartner survey of 353 marketing executives in the US and UK, “budgets fell from 12.1% of company revenue in 2016 to 11.3% in 2017 – a return to 2015 levels. CMOs are not confident of growth this year either. Only 15% say they expect a significant increase in 2018, while a third expect budgets to be cut or frozen.” Marketers will need to work harder to justify every penny they spend.
So what should you put your bets on in 2018? Here are my top three tips:
1. Content Marketing
No surprises here – content marketing continues to top the list for next year as well. Several significant drivers contribute to its success, such as improved content quality, robust content management strategy, and more personalised targeted content management strategy all of which have reaped enormous benefits. These have driven demand generation this year and will continue to be a top priority for marketers.
2. Customer Experience (CX)
Providing positive customer experiences across the customer lifecycle increases customer loyalty and repeat business, and reduces churn. However, did you know it is predicted that by 2020, CX will become the only real brand differentiator for businesses? It will take higher dominance over pricing and product quality.
According to Forrester, 73% of consumers would expand their purchases if they had a favourable CX, while 89% would switch to a competitor due to an adverse customer experience. If your marketing strategy doesn’t factor in customer experience, you’re missing out big time!
3. Digital Marketing
According to the digital marketing plan survey “In 2017, companies have put 30% of their marketing spending into digital marketing. This number is expected to increase in 2018 to 35%.” Given it is a cost-effective channel compared to traditional marketing, it will continue to rise and gain the more significant share of the marketing pie.
In summary, to cut down the noise, differentiate from the competition and earn the trust and credibility of prospects, B2B marketers will need to stay on top of market trends and customer needs in this volatile and complex marketing landscape. You’ll need to be tuned in to the top performers in your space, use data wisely and not be afraid to experiment to fuel your marketing strategy as we move into 2018.